Bellbrook to use federal stimulus money on stormwater measures, other projects

Chuck Hamlin/Staff

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Chuck Hamlin/Staff

BELLBROOK — The city of Bellbrook has allocated $250,000 of federal stimulus money in its 2022 budget toward stormwater infrastructure projects.

The city received its first half of $769,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act earlier this year, and will be looking for input from Bellbrook residents on how to spend the rest of it as early as January.

The city has three main focuses for the federal money, including financial recovery for local businesses, addressing gaps and needs for resident housing, and investing in stormwater infrastructure and broadband. The money allocated in the 2022 budget will be used for interior street paving, fixing drainage issues in two Bellbrook neighborhoods and overall maintenance.

City council is expected to finalize its budget today, Dec. 13.

Bellbrook has experienced major flooding events in previous years, including the complete washout of a bridge in March 2020. That flooding has raised infrastructure and environmental concerns, as stormwater has a significant impact on surrounding natural resources, Little Miami Watershed Network founder Hope Taft said.

“Stormwater has a tremendous influence,” Taft told the Dayton Daily News in November. “Stormwater comes in one big blast, most of it comes through storm drains, which are underground, concrete controlled rivers, which have no way to slow down or purify themselves. All the pollutants the blast brings from hard surfaces go into the river.”

Stormwater also has the potential to erode the banks of the Little Sugar Creek, which creates problems for housing developments, roads and other existing structures.

“It really starts with zoning and planning. What you do with the land affects the river,” Taft said. “Along swells and streams in our own neighborhood, there are filter strips, repairing the way with trees and native grasses. Those are some of the best things people can do. They’re nature’s filters.”

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